A comprehensive overview of breast reduction surgery

Written by: Mr Debashis Ghosh
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

While some people may consider large breasts to be desirable, they can be debilitating and interfere with a woman’s daily life. Respected consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon Mr Debashis Ghosh provides us with a comprehensive overview of breast reduction surgery, explaining how the procedure is performed, ideal candidates and risks associated with the surgery.

How is breast reduction surgery performed?

Breast reduction surgery is performed by a combination of taking excess skin and excess breast tissue, and moulding the breast in a way to make it look aesthetically pleasing. The surgery involves doing some skin markings.


We have specific ways of drawing the skin markings. The nipple height and the size of the breast which the patient desires is considered. Taking into account these factors, the drawings are made, cuts are performed and the breast is remoulded in order to make it look beautiful and give it an enhanced appearance.


Who is the ideal candidate?

An ideal candidate for breast reduction surgery is anyone who has large breasts which are causing them neck pain, back ache or have breasts whose size is much bigger than their frame. It is ideal for patients in which the weight of the breast is so heavy that they are unable to wear the right kind of dresses, and if they have lack of confidence due to the appearance of their breasts.


The surgery is also ideal for patients who feel that the breasts are very low and that they are unable to have intimate relationships because of this, as well as women who feel that the size of their breasts are preventing them from partaking in any sporting activity, or heavy exercises.


How long does it generally take?

The actual itself can last between 3-4 hours, while the whole process of coming in to see the consultant and leaving the same day may last around 8-9 hours (on a single day).


For the recovery period, we tell patients not to do any heavy exercise for 6 weeks after the operation because there are long scars which take time to heal.


Usually 95% of patients are able to return to work within 3-4 weeks, provided that they follow the restrictions of not lifting heavy weights and refraining from heavy exercises.


What are the associated risks?

With breast reduction surgery, there is always a risk of loss of nipple sensation. Delayed wound healing may occur, but this is very rare. In some specific cases, the wound takes longer to heal because there are multiple scars which need to heal before you get a solid scar.


Although extremely rare, if the patient is a smoker, this may lead to loss of nipple. This may also occur if they have underlying vascular conditions, such as small vessel disease or connective tissue disorders.


In some cases, there may be some differences in the size of the breast, but these differences are not noticeable.


What is recovery time like?

Patients are normally up and about within a day, immediately returning to normal activities.


We usually recommend that the patient rests and does not go back to work for at least two weeks following surgery. However, if necessary, they can go back to work in two weeks, but they would need to wear a strong support bra and, as previously mentioned, they cannot do any heavy lifting or exercise for six weeks post-surgery. 


Might a repeat be necessary? When should I have a follow-up appointment?

Very rarely over the course of 5-10 years, depending on if the patient is being weighed, or sometimes due to gravity, the breasts may lose shape or go down again or increase in size. However, this is extremely rare. If this does occur then the breasts can be re-done.


Initially, the patient will be seen as many times as necessary until the initial wound is healed, and after this, we usually see patients 6 months – 1 year after surgery. We discharge them and if they have any future problems, they can be seen and followed up again.



If you are considering breast reduction surgery and would like to book a consultation with Mr Ghosh, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Mr Debashis Ghosh
Plastic surgery

Mr Debashis Ghosh is a highly renowned and experienced consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon who specialises in breast cancer, breast lumps, breast reconstruction, breast reduction, breast augmentation, and breast pain. He currently practises at The London Clinic and The Harley Street Clinic. 

Mr Ghosh, who has successfully completed an MBBS and MS, also possesses a substantial amount of expertise in breast screening, benign breast disease, gynaecomastia, oncoplastic breast conservation, risk-reducing breast surgery, breast symmetrisation surgery, and intraoperative radiotherapy. Notably, Mr Ghosh is actively involved in breast surgery research, including the use of a portable gamma camera for sentinel node biopsies.

Mr Ghosh successfully undertook his higher specialist training in breast and oncoplastic surgery at University Hospitals of Leicester, and Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge. Following this, he then completed a one-year post CCT fellowship at the Royal Free Hospital London. Impressively, Mr Ghosh boasts holding a dual qualification from the European Board of Surgery in Breast and Surgical Oncology. He is presently heavily involved in medical trials that centre on the use of intraoperative radiotherapy, radioactive iodine and seed localisation. 

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